A recent media event attended by Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston saw the former Time Lord chat openly about the reasons behind his shock departure from the show back in 2005 after rave reviews following its return.
If you have been keeping tabs on Eccleston’s previous replies on this subject – something that we’ve tried to keep tabs on – you might not find anything completely new here.
However, this is by far the longest answer that he seems to have given on the matter.
The following passage is a transcription of Christopher Eccleston’s answer to a question as to why he left Doctor Who, asked at an acting master class at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, as featured at (the marvellously named) www.badwilf.co.uk,
I left Doctor Who, because I could not get along with the senior people. I left, because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye, with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up, around the series. So, I left. I felt, over a principle. I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay, was to eat a lot of shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and, it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and-we are vulnerable as actors and, we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But, if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale. You will loose, whatever it is about you and, it will be present in your work.
If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure. If you allow that, to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself. Because, it’ll be present in your work. A purity or an idealism is essential, or, you’ll become-you’ve got to have standards, no matter how hard work that is. So, it makes it hard road, really. You know. It’s easy to find a job, when you’ve got no morals, you’ve got nothing to be compromised you can go ‘yeah, yeah. That doesn’t matter. That director can bully that prop man and, I won’t say anything about it’. But, then when that director comes to you and says ‘I think you should play it like this’. You’ve surely got to go ‘How can I respect you, when you behave like that?’
So, that’s why I left. My face didn’t fit and, I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and the suddenly, your acting for children. Who are far more tasteful, they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after show parties, with cocktails.
We’ll never know just who Eccleston is referring to as “the senior people” but it is rather wonderful that he has taken the time to give such a well thought-out answer without putting any blame on any individuals, something that is extremely important and increasingly rare these days.